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A variety of Chung Chun’s corndog-like snacks, dressed with a variety of colorful sauces, served in paper trays and wrappers.
Some of the Korean corn dogs at Chung Chun’s Rice Dog.
Haley Hill Photography

Some of the Best Inexpensive Meals in Seattle

Fantastic food at affordable prices

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Some of the Korean corn dogs at Chung Chun’s Rice Dog.
| Haley Hill Photography

It’s no secret the dining in Seattle is expensive, and affordable options can be harder to find in this city compared to other, more street-food-oriented West Coast metropolises like Los Angeles, where taco trucks are on every corner. But there are still some great places out there that are easy on the wallet and worth plenty of return visits. Below is a list of some of the truly excellent meals in the city that won’t break the bank, with satisfying tacos, kathi rolls, chili-drenched hand-pulled noodles, and more.

As usual, this list is not ranked; it’s organized geographically. Know of a spot that should be on our radar? Send us a tip by emailing seattle@eater.com.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Grillbird Teriyaki

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It’s difficult to put a fresh spin on teriyaki around these parts, but West Seattle’s newish fast-casual restaurant tries its best, making the selections both halal and gluten free (using tamari for the sauce). The classic chicken features a smoky char, and there are pot roast and vegan options, plus combos that provide plenty of value. Available for takeout and delivery without third-party apps.

Taqueria la Fondita

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This White Center staple — with a food truck outpost on Aurora Avenue — hands-down serves some of the best tacos in the Seattle area. The affordable tacos (carne asada is an excellent choice) come piled up with generous portions of meat, and the grilled Serrano peppers on the side round out the meal.

19 GOLD Taiwanese Restaurant

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Fremont Taiwanese restaurant 19 Gold is perhaps best known for its boba and malatang (spicy stews full of meat, seafood, and vegetables). But like many Taiwanese restaurants, it has a more affordable side to the menu, with popcorn chicken, braised pork belly over rice, minced pork noodles, and chicken cutlets all coming in at under $10.

Tacos Chukis

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This taco mini chain with four locations around Seattle is a consistently good choice for an inexpensive meal. The star meat here is adobada, served in a house special taco with pineapple and melted cheese, in cheesy mulitas, and in quesadillas. The chicken baby burrito also makes a satisfying small meal, and nopal tacos are available for those looking for a vegetarian option.

Marination

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This South Lake Union spot offers Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine that’s hard to beat. Its latest takeout and delivery menu includes the wonderfully crispy aloha tots, along with a selection of tacos and sliders.

John Beck/Courtesy of Marination

Chung Chun Rice Dog

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The International District outpost of this Korean fast-casual chain serves fun and satisfying meat-on-a-stick offerings, with coatings ranging from panko breadcrumbs to Korean ramen noodles to squid ink, served with a selection of savory and sweet sauces.

A variety of Chung Chun’s corndog-like snacks, dressed with a variety of colorful sauces, served in paper trays and wrappers.
The Korean corn dogs at Chung Chun Rice Dog.
Haley Hill Photography

Frelard Tamales

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The Frelard Mexican restaurant offers gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and meat tamales for pickup and delivery, with instructions on how to heat at home (they can be ordered in bulk as family meals).

Xi’an Noodles

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This no-frills spot on the Ave in the U District has been slinging some of the city’s best Chinese food since it opened in 2016 and has since expanded to Downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Bowls of hand-pulled, wide biang biang noodles are the main attraction, made from scratch every day. Must-try dishes include the spicy cumin lamb.

A closeup view of a bowl filled with lamb cumin noodles and herbs, pulled with chopsticks.
Lamb cumin noodles
Gabe Guarente

Spice Waala

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This Capitol Hill restaurant has quickly gained traction as one of the best spots for Indian street food in the city (it also recently expanded to Ballard). The lamb kebab and chicken tikka kathi rolls are both popular picks, as well as gluten-free snack options, such as papdi chaat.

Man'oushe Express

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These Middle Eastern flatbreads (mana’eesh), made in a Woodstone oven at Goodies Mediterranean Market, are one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Gut-bustingly large and wallet-friendly, they’re piled high with za’atar, ground lamb, kefir, bulgur, and mint.

Emerald City Fish and Chips

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This tiny, bare-bones South Seattle gem has been frying fine Southern-inspired seafood for a decade, with choices ranging from salmon to halibut to catfish to cod. And while fish is obviously the star of the show, the rest of owner Stevie Allen's menu is airtight as well, particularly the gumbo and po’ boys.

A view of fried fish with fries in containers on top of trays covered in red checkered paper.
Emerald City is a South Seattle gem.
Emerald City Fish and Chips/Facebook

Spice Bridge

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This new food hall inside the Tukwila Village development supports women-owned immigrant businesses with kiosks serving a variety of international dishes for takeout. There are comforting Somali-Kenyan-Tanzanian stews at Moyo Kitchen, Congolese cuisine from Taste of Congo (including wonderfully chewy beignets), and satisfying Gambian and Senegalese food, such as fish yassa, from Afella Jollof Catering.

Taco Street

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This taco sensation near the Othello station serves soft tacos Northern Chihuahua-style, naked with a choice of meat, plus burritos, tortas, and breakfast burritos (most under $5). There’s a large selection of sauces, salsas, and toppings to customize these beauties.

Grillbird Teriyaki

It’s difficult to put a fresh spin on teriyaki around these parts, but West Seattle’s newish fast-casual restaurant tries its best, making the selections both halal and gluten free (using tamari for the sauce). The classic chicken features a smoky char, and there are pot roast and vegan options, plus combos that provide plenty of value. Available for takeout and delivery without third-party apps.

Taqueria la Fondita

This White Center staple — with a food truck outpost on Aurora Avenue — hands-down serves some of the best tacos in the Seattle area. The affordable tacos (carne asada is an excellent choice) come piled up with generous portions of meat, and the grilled Serrano peppers on the side round out the meal.

19 GOLD Taiwanese Restaurant

Fremont Taiwanese restaurant 19 Gold is perhaps best known for its boba and malatang (spicy stews full of meat, seafood, and vegetables). But like many Taiwanese restaurants, it has a more affordable side to the menu, with popcorn chicken, braised pork belly over rice, minced pork noodles, and chicken cutlets all coming in at under $10.

Tacos Chukis

This taco mini chain with four locations around Seattle is a consistently good choice for an inexpensive meal. The star meat here is adobada, served in a house special taco with pineapple and melted cheese, in cheesy mulitas, and in quesadillas. The chicken baby burrito also makes a satisfying small meal, and nopal tacos are available for those looking for a vegetarian option.

Marination

John Beck/Courtesy of Marination

This South Lake Union spot offers Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine that’s hard to beat. Its latest takeout and delivery menu includes the wonderfully crispy aloha tots, along with a selection of tacos and sliders.

John Beck/Courtesy of Marination

Chung Chun Rice Dog

A variety of Chung Chun’s corndog-like snacks, dressed with a variety of colorful sauces, served in paper trays and wrappers.
The Korean corn dogs at Chung Chun Rice Dog.
Haley Hill Photography

The International District outpost of this Korean fast-casual chain serves fun and satisfying meat-on-a-stick offerings, with coatings ranging from panko breadcrumbs to Korean ramen noodles to squid ink, served with a selection of savory and sweet sauces.

A variety of Chung Chun’s corndog-like snacks, dressed with a variety of colorful sauces, served in paper trays and wrappers.
The Korean corn dogs at Chung Chun Rice Dog.
Haley Hill Photography

Frelard Tamales

The Frelard Mexican restaurant offers gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and meat tamales for pickup and delivery, with instructions on how to heat at home (they can be ordered in bulk as family meals).

Xi’an Noodles

A closeup view of a bowl filled with lamb cumin noodles and herbs, pulled with chopsticks.
Lamb cumin noodles
Gabe Guarente

This no-frills spot on the Ave in the U District has been slinging some of the city’s best Chinese food since it opened in 2016 and has since expanded to Downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Bowls of hand-pulled, wide biang biang noodles are the main attraction, made from scratch every day. Must-try dishes include the spicy cumin lamb.

A closeup view of a bowl filled with lamb cumin noodles and herbs, pulled with chopsticks.
Lamb cumin noodles
Gabe Guarente

Spice Waala

This Capitol Hill restaurant has quickly gained traction as one of the best spots for Indian street food in the city (it also recently expanded to Ballard). The lamb kebab and chicken tikka kathi rolls are both popular picks, as well as gluten-free snack options, such as papdi chaat.

Man'oushe Express

These Middle Eastern flatbreads (mana’eesh), made in a Woodstone oven at Goodies Mediterranean Market, are one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Gut-bustingly large and wallet-friendly, they’re piled high with za’atar, ground lamb, kefir, bulgur, and mint.

Emerald City Fish and Chips

A view of fried fish with fries in containers on top of trays covered in red checkered paper.
Emerald City is a South Seattle gem.
Emerald City Fish and Chips/Facebook

This tiny, bare-bones South Seattle gem has been frying fine Southern-inspired seafood for a decade, with choices ranging from salmon to halibut to catfish to cod. And while fish is obviously the star of the show, the rest of owner Stevie Allen's menu is airtight as well, particularly the gumbo and po’ boys.

A view of fried fish with fries in containers on top of trays covered in red checkered paper.
Emerald City is a South Seattle gem.
Emerald City Fish and Chips/Facebook

Spice Bridge

This new food hall inside the Tukwila Village development supports women-owned immigrant businesses with kiosks serving a variety of international dishes for takeout. There are comforting Somali-Kenyan-Tanzanian stews at Moyo Kitchen, Congolese cuisine from Taste of Congo (including wonderfully chewy beignets), and satisfying Gambian and Senegalese food, such as fish yassa, from Afella Jollof Catering.

Taco Street

This taco sensation near the Othello station serves soft tacos Northern Chihuahua-style, naked with a choice of meat, plus burritos, tortas, and breakfast burritos (most under $5). There’s a large selection of sauces, salsas, and toppings to customize these beauties.

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